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Author Topic: Englisc and English  (Read 4146 times)


  • Ealdormann
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  • Posts: 620
Englisc and English
« on: July 14, 2017, 05:31:15 PM »
I have said that Englisc and English only differ in the last letter in the spelling and the first letter in pronunciation.  I am now questioning that.
I have heard it suggested that at the end of the Old English period the “e” was pronounced as an “i”. Can anyone clarify this and, if that was so, when did the change in pronunciation take place?
Then when was the word Englisc coined? If it was early enough would it have ended with a “sk” sound. I feel that it was not that early but it would be interesting to know when it was first used.


  • Hlaford
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  • Essex scirgerefa
Re: Englisc and English
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2017, 01:46:56 PM »
As far as I know the term 'English' as applied to the English language is first evidenced in King Alfred's translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical history. As to how much earlier than that is was being used in any context or how it was pronounced at any time or in any location - has anyone got a time-machine handy?  Seriously though, I don't think that we know although there have been various attempts to provide some kind of retrospective standard.  I prefer Campbell's (Old English Grammar) approach - for example - para. 48 ' Old English scribes are very consistent in their representation of accented vowel sounds, but every accented syllable did not have the same vowel sound in every dialect, or even at every time within one dialect. Hence there is a great diversity of spelling in Old English, arising not from inconsistency in the values of the symbols, but from diversity of sound.'
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta